So I recently decided to experiment using the micro-contracting site Fiverr.com. For those not familiar, it’s basically a site where random people offer services starting at $5. Depending on the service, there are several add-ons for additional costs.
I wanted to see what they had in terms of social media promotion for my new video #ProducersBeLike. For the most part, all of the social media services they offered were BS. A quick look at the country of origin and some of the spelling revealed, that most of the services were bot-related.
You’ll see a ton of 2000 twitter followers in 24 hours, 1,000 Soundcloud plays, 500 Youtube likes, etc… I was more interested in finding real users willing to tweet real content to their sizable list of followers. I only found a few that seemed to be real.
Aside from the lack of moderating on Fiverr’s part, I have an issue with the way the whole system operates. When you “request” a service, Fiverr immediately deducts the money from your Paypal account and pays the seller. At that point, the contractor hasn’t actually agreed to take on your project. Basically, it’s the equivalent to Ebay taking your money for a bid, but you haven’t actually won yet.
The seller then responds, but sometimes they just “cancel” the order, without explanation (happened to me a few times). That wouldn’t be a problem if you get a refund, but you don’t. Instead, you are only given credit, basically forcing you to spend the amount somewhere on Fiverr. Unfortunately, this is laid out in the terms and conditions but most people don’t read that. If you try to dispute with Paypal, Fiverr cancels your account.
The buyer really has no protection here. You cannot review/rate a seller if the order was cancelled. It would be helpful to see a “completion” or “cancellation” rate, but no. The seller can cancel every order and you would never know. They do provide reviews for completed orders, but given the shadiness of the services offered, there is no guarantee they are real either. If they have a bot to get 1000 fake Twitter followers, then I’m sure they can figure out how to get fake reviews on Fiverr.
Overall, if your looking for quality and buyer protection, skip Fiverr. I’ve read horror stories online where people have had up to $100 tied up in credits due to cancellations of large projects. Remember, you get what you pay for.